A/N: As usual I don't own Vampire Diaries
This is it, the final chapter! Thanks to everyone who came along for the ride, you made it worth writing.
"Tell you what? Let's leave the question of the future to that, the future. For tonight let's just celebrate our good fortune and have a good time." A knock at the door signaled the arrival of their "supper", a gourmet spread complete with not one but two bottles of chilled champagne.
"Our good fortune? I'm the one who won the money." Elena pointed out as soon as the servers had left them alone again.
"Yeah, and I'm the one who's gonna help you cash in those chips since you're under eighteen." Damon smirked, pouring them each a flute of champagne. "To the future." He raised his glass to hers.
"To the future." She nodded, her eyes bright as she took a long sip.
Two hours later, they stumbled into the Chapel O' Love, blitzed out of their minds on complimentary champagne and the tequila shots that had followed.
"Want to?" Damon asked with a drunken smirk.
"I'm not 18 yet, remember?" Elena replied, for some reason no other objections coming to mind.
"So, I can get us past that easily." A half shrug was given.
"Would that even be legal?" But that wasn't the most pressing question where that was concerned was it? "And that's how you're gonna ask me? You wanna?" She fixed him with a disgruntled look.
Damon went down on one knee, pressing her knuckles to his heart. "Elena Gilbert, will you do me the great honor of making me the happiest vampire on earth…"
"Shhhhh," she giggled "someone will hear you!"
"I don't care, I'm not afraid to proclaim it to the… proclamation!"
Elena giggled some more as he tripped over his words, he was so adorable down there on the floor.
"Now where was I? Right, will you… honor my honor with the honor of your hand in marriage?"
"Sure, why not?" Elena grinned, shrieking with laughter as he leapt to his feet and spun her around and around, making her dizzy. "Wait, wait, wait… stop or I'm gonna throw up."
"Just what every man hopes to hear on his wedding day…" He snickered, setting her down.
The dizziness passed and she gave him another lopsided grin. "Okay I'm good, let's do this." Elena declared, moving past the doors and into the lobby where amenities could be chosen to customize the service.
"Oh, you should definitely wear one of these." Elena pointed to a sky blue tux complete with ruffled shirt, displayed on a mannequin.
Damon winced, "No chance in hell."
"Aw… and here I was gonna put on this little number." She tugged at the puffed sleeve of a white wedding dress that was a huge mass of puffs and ruffles, nearly obscuring the lines of the dress.
"You really think you should be wearing white?" Damon smirked.
Elena punched him on the shoulder as hard as she could. "Dick…" She muttered, with a roll of the eyes. "I can't get married wearing black like I'm at a funeral."
"Well I'm dead aren't I?" He quipped, garnering a look from the receptionist behind the counter.
"Damon!" Elena hissed.
Damon turned to stare at the receptionist. "Do you mind? We're having a private conversation here."
The girl behind the counter dropped her gaze nervously, busying herself with unpacking a box of mugs with the Chapel O' Love logo emblazoned on them.
"Be nice to her, she didn't do anything to you." Elena frowned.
"I didn't…" Damon pinched the bridge of his nose. "Do you want to get married or not?" He demanded.
"Yeah… probably." Elena replied, lips pouting at his tone.
"Are we all set then?" The mousy receptionist asked timidly, biting her lip as she looked from one to the other.
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The ceremony was a bit of a blur, Elena was focused on the feel of her hand in his, the way his blue eyes locked on hers intently.
"Do you have a ring?" The minister cleared his throat and Elena got the impression that he'd already asked it once.
"Shit, I knew we forgot something…" Damon frowned.
"We have a lovely selection of rings…" The minister began, signaling for his aide to come forth with a tray of rings.
"No, I got it." Damon waved her off. "Here, take this one." He suggested, taking off his own ring and holding it up with a grin for his own cleverness.
Elena stared at her hand as he pushed the ring onto her finger, the reality of what he was doing starting to push through the fog of drink. "Wait…" She murmured, trying to clear her head.
"Repeat after me, with this ring…"
"Wait, wait, wait, this is wrong… this is all wrong." Elena interrupted, taking a step backwards, her hand pulling out of his. The moment she saw the ring, his ring on her finger she knew that part of her wanted this more than anything. But not like this. Not in some drunken ceremony that neither of them would remember. She wanted more.
The look of pain on Damon's face cut her straight to the core, and she closed her eyes against it. "Damon, what I mean is …"
"No you're right, it's a stupid idea." He cut her off, "Thanks but no thanks Padre, looks like we won't be needing your services after all." Damon closed himself off, avoiding Elena's gaze as well. "Come on, let's head back to the hotel." Without waiting for her response, he strode down the aisle and out of the building.
Elena hurried after him, waiting till she got outside to call his name. "Damon..." No response, he continued on to the street. "Damon please…"
Damon ignored her, raising his arm to hail a cab.
"We should talk about this." Elena tried again.
"What's there to talk about? You don't want to get married, I get that, let's just forget it. There's nothing left to say."
"Yes there is… if you'll just let me explain…"
"Would it be so bad to be married to me?" Damon whirled to face her, his eyes blazing with intensity as he grabbed her by the shoulders.
"Is that what you want? Really want? Or did it just seem like a good idea at the time?" Elena asked, wincing slightly as his fingers dug into her flesh.
"Yes. Maybe. I don't know." He released her, rubbing the back of his neck absently.
"Then we shouldn't get married. Marriage is a big step. You need to know. I only want to do this once." A cab pulled up then and Elena moved forward when to slip inside, surprised when Damon shut the door right after her. Rolling down the window as quickly as she could, she called him back as he had already turned away. "Wait! You're not coming with me? Where are you going?"
"I don't know, for a walk. I need to think."
"Damon, please come back to the hotel with me, we need to talk through this." She pleaded with him. "Everything is just…" Elena's head was starting to pound and she pressed it against the cool metal of the door. "Don't leave like this."
"Go back to the room Elena. Things will look brighter come the morning." He gave her a sad smile before turning and walking off into the night.
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Things will look brighter come the morning…
Things were definitely not brighter in the morning,
The sun streaming in through the curtains fell perfectly against her face and she groaned, snapping her eyes shut again. "I will never drink again…"
The first thing she noticed was that she was alone. If Damon had come back to the room, he was sleeping on the couch. "Damon?" She called out, wincing at the pain the sound of her own voice brought.
The second thing she noticed was his ring still on her finger.
Things will look brighter come the morning…
Oh God… was Damon out there somewhere without his ring? Ignoring the pain in her head, or the way her stomach protested at the movement, Elena flew out of bed, tearing open the bedroom door. "Damon?" She called out into the empty room.
Two hours later, she ventured downstairs in search of him, thinking maybe she'd find him in the bar or the casino. With few external windows, it seemed a perfect place for a vampire to spend his day. But there was no sign of him anywhere, and no answer on his cell when she tried him for the umpteenth time.
Four hours later, she was back in the hotel room, waiting for him to show up there. It made sense that it was the logical place for him to turn up. Besides, she had no desire to go out and see the sights by herself.
Six hours later, she'd decided to go down to the lobby again and ask around if anyone had seen him. All of the women she asked seemed to remember him just fine, but hadn't seen him since the night before.
Ten hours later, she was back up in the room, passed out from sheer exhaustion of worry.
Twelve hours later, Elena was pacing, unable to sit still as she imagined the worst. What if he never came back? What if she'd blown it with him and never saw him again? Worse, what if he'd passed out drunk somewhere and then woken up without the protection of his ring and was just… gone? Darkness had fallen a couple of hours ago, and there was still no sign of him. Very close to tears, she paced the luxuriously appointed room, seeing none of its splendor, only waiting for one thing…
And there it was… a flurry of awareness as she felt the tug of their bond and knew that Damon was up and around… somewhere. Not familiar enough with it to be able to tell just how far away he was, she wondered if it meant he had just arisen or if he was headed her way?
The sound of the door mechanism disengaging drew her attention and she froze, wondering if she was starting to hear things now, or if he had truly returned. The man himself stepped across the threshold looking tired and disheveled; his suit coat and tie gone, shirt open at the throat.
"Where the hell have you been?" She heard herself screech, even as she launched herself at him, unsure if she was of a mind to hug him or hit him. It ended up being a combination of both as she collided with him, clutching to him tightly.
"Out." Damon replied succinctly.
"Out? That's all you have to say to me? Where did you go?" Elena demanded.
"Out," he repeated. "I needed to clear my head."
"Don't ever do that again, I was worried to death!" Tears of relief stood in her eyes, her heart beating like a jackhammer at the adrenaline coursing through her system.
"I'm a grown boy Elena, I can take care of myself." Damon disengaged himself from her arms, putting some space between them.
"That's not the point and you know it."
A roll of the eyes was given. "What are you so damned afraid of?"
That you might not come back. "That you might do something stupid." She ended up saying aloud, her brows drawing together in annoyance. He'd driven her nearly mad with worry and he didn't even care?
"If you want me to stick around you have a funny way of showing it." He retorted.
"I was worried about you!" Elena exclaimed indignantly.
"Well who asked you to be?" He thundered at her, his eyes blazing.
"I can't help it, I love you, you idiot!" She yelled back.
"Well I love you too!" Damon retorted at the top of his lungs.
"Okay then…" Elena drew in a calming breath.
"Wait, what?" Damon blinked. "Did you just say that you love me?"
"You said it too, I heard you, you can't take it back." Elena insisted hurriedly.
"I don't want to take it back." His face softened, taking a step towards her.
A knock sounded on the door, "Security!" Came the voice in an authoritative tone.
Giving her a helpless look, Damon answered the door, his face contrite as he pulled it open.
"Is everything okay here? We had a report of a domestic disturbance." The security guard looked from one to the other.
"Just a little squabble with the wife, but we're fine." Damon gave him a tight smile.
"That true ma'am?"
Elena nodded. "Sorry if we disturbed anyone." She gave him a sheepish smile.
He lingered a moment longer, before deciding to let it go. "Try and keep it down." With a final nod he was gone.
Damon and Elena shared a nervous laugh after the security guard was gone, and Elena wondered what would happen next. Would he pretend nothing had happened, or would they talk about what was just said?
"Come here." Damon bid her, holding his arms out for her.
Dutifully she went to him, her eyes closing with relief as his arms closed around her. For long moments they remained that way, locked in each other's embrace before he pulled back to look at her.
"Let's try that again." His thumbs stroked along the edge of her jaw. "I love you."
"And I love you." She smiled, tears of happiness sliding from her eyes.
"Don't cry, Elena." He captured the tears with his fingers and stroked them away.
"I can't help it… the man I love tells me he loves me too and… I just fall all to pieces." She laughed, pressing a kiss to the palm of his hand.
"We can go home now." Damon laid a gentle kiss to her forehead.
"So this is what you wanted to show me? Las Vegas?" She smiled in his embrace.
"No, I had actually planned to take you to Disneyland." He admitted.
"You dragged me out of bed and brought me all the way across the country to show me Disneyland? That's what you had planned from the start?" For a few days she had started to suspect that he had no destination in mind, but for the life of her she didn't understand why the importance of Disneyland and why it wasn't necessary now.
"Yes and no." He hedged.
"Wouldn't Disneyworld have been a lot closer?" Elena pointed out.
Damon smiled, resting his chin on top of her head. "Yes it is, but it wouldn't have been the same. I brought you on this road trip to show you a good time; that was part of it of course. But I'd like to think we gained something else along the way, don't you?"
"That was your plan then? To get me to fall in love with you?" She marveled at the idea that he'd gone through all that trouble just for her.
"I wanted to show you that life goes on. That even in the midst of some pretty awful shit life is worth living. And not that excuse for a life you were living when I took you out of there but this… wild, spontaneous, life where anything can happen, even love." Damon stroked her soft hair. "Though… I have to admit, I really didn't believe you could love me back the way I love you right up until I heard you say the words."
"Well you always were an idiot." Elena pulled back to look into those crystal blue eyes, seeing her own love reflected there. "Let me say it again then. I love you Damon, and I always will." She leaned up and pressed a kiss to his lips. "Now let's go home."
"What, now?" His expression grew doubtful. "I was sorta hoping we might…" He jerked his head towards the bedroom.
The corner of her mouth tugged up into a smile. "That's what I was saying. You ever hear that expression, 'home is where the heart is'?"
"Well my home is in your arms." Her smile grew a little wider, a mischievous light coming into her eyes. "I think we're about overdue for a little homecoming, don't you think?"
"That's my girl." He smirked, lifting her into his arms in one swift movement. "I'll give you a homecoming like you've never seen before."
A/N: Ah the fic is complete! There's a likelihood I will continue this in the future with a sequel, European Roadtrip or something, but it'll be in a few month's time. In the meantime, here are some answers to questions people had that didn't quite get addressed yet.
Will they get married? I do see that as being in their future. Whether he admits it or not Damon is a traditional kind of guy in many ways, and I think Elena wants the whole white wedding thing with her family there.
Is Damon even able to get married? Does he have ID? I think that's something Damon would be able to arrange pretty easily. How hard would it be to compel someone at the DMV and get an ID?
Will Elena eventually become a vampire? Maybe, it's hard to say with them at this point, Elena is still very young. But someday maybe.
Will they go back to Mystic Falls or keep on traveling? I think they'd take the long way home, but eventually go back for her last year of high school. Plus at some point Jenna's gonna wonder where she disappeared to when she gets back!
Send any other unanswered questions and I can try to answer them individually or include them in the sequel.
Last chance… Feedback is love people